Volleyball update: Lady Zs go 2-2 at Harrison Invite
RHS starts season with 3-0 losses to Plymouth, Southwood
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Rochester volleyball team went 2-2 at the Harrison (West Lafayette) Invitational and now stands at 2-4 on the season.
RHS opened the day with a 25-20, 25-16 loss to Covington. They followed with a 26-24, 25-15 win over Danville, a Class 3A team, in their second pool match.
In the place round, RHS lost to Harrison 25-18, 25-16 before bouncing back to beat Clinton Prairie 25-16, 27-29, 15-6.
Heritage Christian went on to beat Pioneer in the championship match.
Kaitlin Rogers had 10 kills against Clinton Prairie.
RHS LEADERS VS. DANVILLE
Hannah Houston - 8 kills; Dalanie Chipps - 1 ace, 9 digs; Chloe Harris - 1 ace; Molly Conley - 1 ace, 20 assists; Lexy Thomas - 2 blocks; Kaitlin Rogers - 2 blocks; Emma Howdeshell - 12 serves received
RHS LEADERS VS. COVINGTON
Emily Hughes - 5 kills; Kylie Houston - 2 aces, 9 serves received; Molly Conley - 2 aces, 9 digs, 15 assists; Carlee Blackburn - 2 aces
RHS LEADERS VS. HARRISON
Kaitlin Rogers - 5 kills, 1 ace, 4 blocks, Chloe Harris - 6 digs, Molly Conley - 11 assists, Dalanie Chipps - 11 serves received
RHS LEADERS VS. CLINTON PRAIRIE
Kaitlin Rogers - 10 kills; Dalanie Chipps - 2 aces, 14 serves received; Carlee Blackburn - 2 aces; Emily Hughes - 3 blocks; Molly Conley - 13 digs, 20 assists
Southwood def. Rochester, 25-21, 26-24, 25-17 (Thursday)
For the first time since 2013, the Three Rivers Conference’s greatest volleyball rivalry went Southwood’s way.
The Lady Knights earned a 25-21, 26-24, 25-17 win at the RHS gym to break their seven-year drought to the Lady Zs.
That included six regular season matches and wins in the 2015 and 2016 sectional finals.
The match featured two bizarre replays. With Southwood leading 23-21 in Game 1, a Rochester player hit an attack that shook the antenna right in front of the chair official. The official did not blow the play dead, and the point continued, and RHS was awarded the point on a net violation.
The officials conferred and agreed to replay the point. RHS followed with two kill errors to end the set.
In Game 2, RHS led 23-21, and a Kaitlin Rogers kill try was first ruled in along the right sideline. Had it been called in, RHS would have had a set point. Instead, they replayed the point, and Southwood followed with two straight aces.
An Ella Haupert serve error gave RHS a set point at 24-23.
But a Marissa Metzger roll shot, an Erin McGouldrick stuff and an RHS dig error ended the set. Southwood had finished with a 7-1 run, and the only point RHS got came on a missed serve.
RHS coach Erin Leap missed the match due to a coronavirus-related quarantine and while awaiting the results of a coronavirus test. Instead, she watched the match on TV. After finding out she tested negative while the match was going on, she arrived later and participated in some of the senior night festivities.
“I felt like momentum was going our way,” Leap said. “It could have carried into Game 3, but you never know.”
The Lady Knights capped the match with an 11-1 run in Game 3 as they turned a 6-4 deficit into a 15-7 lead.
Southwood coach Tom Finicle praised his team’ fortitude after finding out earlier Thursday that sophomore setter Alli Lopez would miss the match due to a coronavirus-related quarantine.
“Some persistence out of our kids,” Finicle said. “We lost our setter today at 10:30 this morning. So we made up this lineup afternoon. … We brought the freshman setter up, and we ran around with her a little bit, and we got very fortunate tonight to get a win.”
Rogers led RHS with 10 kills on senior night, and Hannah Houston added nine kills and two blocks. But service pressure produced only one ace. Dalanie Chipps had 19 digs and 10 serves received. Chloe Harris had 12 digs and 10 assists. Molly Conley had 23 assists.
Assistant coach Sarah Daulton coached the team in Leap’s place. She made a lineup change from Tuesday’s opener against Plymouth, but she disapproved how the players handled it.
“Attitudes,” Daulton said, when asked what needed to improve. “They just need to be more coachable. When a coach makes a decision, they need to be able to go with it and not shut down because they don’t like the choices that the coach is making.”
For Southwood, it meant more, though Finicle put it in perspective, referring to his old Lady Z coaching rival and the history of the rivalry, which typically factored into the TRC title race.
“It’s been a big win because it’s a conference win, and it's in this building, and it’s not like the Katie Felke-Tom Finicle matches of old, but it’s still a win over Rochester. And that’s big for us,” Finicle said.
RHS STATS VS. SOUTHWOOD
Lexy Thomas - 3 kills, 4 digs, 7 serves received; Emily Hughes - 3 kills, 3 serves received; Kaitlin Rogers - 10 kills, 5 digs, 8 serves received; Molly Conley - 2 kills, 1 block, 7 digs, 23 assists; Carlee Blackburn - 6 kills, 7 digs, 1 serve received; Hannah Houston - 9 kills, 2 blocks, 2 digs; Chloe Harris - 1 ace, 12 digs, 10 assists, 3 serves received; Dalanie Chipps - 19 digs, 10 serves received; Kylie Houston - 9 digs, 9 serves received; Emma Howdeshell - 5 digs, 9 serves received; Alexa Kouskousakis - 1 serve received
Southwood def. Rochester, 25-15, 25-10, 25-12 (Sept. 8)
The Lady Zs opened their season with a three-set loss to host Plymouth.
Kaitlin Rogers had six kills. Dalanie Chipps had 10 digs and 14 serves received.
“I think the most encouraging thing I saw was some of our hitters are really coming around,” RHS assistant coach Sarah Daulton said. “The younger hitters are stepping up a little bit, like Emily Hughes kept hitting the line shot. She hits it all the time in practice, and she didn’t quit trying even though it wasn’t falling her way tonight. So I was encouraged by that. Lexy Thomas, she stepped it up tonight.
“We just weren’t making our shots. They’re shot they make in practice, but tonight, I don’t know if it was first-game jitters or what, but we just weren’t quite making that connection tonight.”
While teams around the state started practice Aug. 3, RHS didn’t start practice until Aug. 24 due to coronavirus exposure within the student body that shut down in-class learning and all sports.
Daulton coached the team in place of Erin Leap, who was out while in coronavirus-related quarantine and while waiting for the results of a coronavirus test.
Plymouth seemed more sure of itself given they have had more match action, according to Daulton. In fact, Daulton said the Lady Zs are “five weeks” behind.
“They’ve started to mesh and gel and can read each other on the court, whereas sometimes I felt like we were second-guessing each other, we weren’t talking on the ball, that kind of thing,” Daulton said. “Hopefully that will get better the more games we get under our belt.”
RHS STATS VS. PLYMOUTH
Lexy Thomas - 2 kills, 2 digs, 2 serves received; Lexy Thomas - 6 kills; Kaitlin Rogers - 3 kills, 3 digs, 8 serves received; Emma Howdeshell - 1 kill, 4 digs, 9 serves received; Molly Conley - 1 kill, 7 digs, 10 assists; Carlee Blackburn - 1 kill, 5 digs, 5 serves received; Hannah Houston - 1 kill, 2 blocks, 1 dig, 1 serve received; Chloe Harris - 2 aces, 8 digs, 4 assists, 1 serve received; Dalanie Chipps - 10 digs, 14 serves received; Emily Hughes - 4 digs; Kylie Houston - 2 digs, 5 serves received; Kallie Watson - 5 digs, 1 serve received.